I sometimes ask those who meet me what their perceptions of me are, especially initially. Two years ago, I constantly heard responses saying I was “intense”. At that point, I realized I was highly opinionated on how to do things and was vocal about it. I overlooked certain faults believing I wouldn’t fall prey to others’ mistakes despite countless advisors saying otherwise (i.e. taking too long to launch, difficulties of equal ownership and responsibilities between partners, etc.).
Now, I’m a more seasoned entrepreneur. I now advise many entrepreneurs and startups, and I find myself giving similar advice to the ones I received. Even though many entrepreneurs ask for advice, however, I know most won’t listen to ideas contrary to their beliefs. I get it. There’s a certain air of confidence about entrepreneurs with their visions and a rite of passage they must go through.
Now when I advise others, I focus on one or two areas, so at least they have a single big take-away. At least then, I hope my message resonates better; and thus, they can overcome the missteps I made.
Of course, it’s perfectly okay to ignore advice… mostly. When you ask 100 entrepreneurs to solve a problem, you’d probably get 100 different ideas. Entrepreneurs are visionaries, solution creators, problem-solvers… and we pursue entrepreneurship not because we want to, but because we have to. We believe we can do it better. With that, we are highly confident in our abilities and our vision.
That confidence and break-down-barriers approach give us the energy to try new things, learn if we’re right or wrong, iterate, and keep going. That is what entrepreneurship is all about… adapting. The more bruised or scarred an entrepreneur, the better. Confidence in our vision and fail (or succeed) is our rite of passage.